In the many casual conversations I’ve had with friends over wine this year, the one topic I found to be most challenging is convincing anyone that Tamar Braxton’s album is actually good value.
The majority of people I have spoken with have discounted her as being a desperate younger sibling, thirsty for a piece of her famous sister’s success. The ones who have watched Braxton Family Values (or at least seen Tamar’s animated gifs) struggled to take her seriously.
Love and War is a Trojan horse – a curious sight upon arrival and surprising in content. The most celebrated moments on this album remain with the mature R&B ballads that showcase Tamar’s expert vocal abilities. The project’s lead single ‘Love and War’ is a stunner: she lathers up a deep, brooding tone for the verses (as only a Braxton can) before letting rip a war cry in the chorus that snatches a hundred wigs per minute.
Watch the video for Tamar’s ‘Love and War’:
Elsewhere, ‘The One’ is an instant favourite, carted out on a beat that is a bubblegum throwback to 80s funk and hip hop. The sweet lyrics are enough to melt any hard candy heart and make you want to fall in love at Coney Island. Stylistically, ‘The One’ gives a respectful nod to early Mariah Carey records, when she started applying glossy diva vocals over hard-hitting hip hop beats.
The album is also punctuated by sizzling ratchet beats like ‘Hot Sugar’ and ‘Tip Toe’, which sound so wildly ridiculous when you’re skipping through from a string of ballads. But the duality between heartfelt, grown woman ballads and playful bangers is so indicative of the many sides of Tamar – trashy reality TV star and underrated singer.
Watch the video for Tamar’s single ‘Hot Sugar’: